Posted by Dinah on March 4, 2004, at 11:29:19
In reply to Who Has Seen The Passion of the Christ, posted by Dena on February 28, 2004, at 18:13:09
Because I felt offended. I understand the concerns of the Jewish anti-defamation league.
I won't get into a discussion about the improbability of certain gospel descriptions based on what we know about the history and customs of the times from extra-biblical sources because I respect that many people believe the Gospels to be gospel truth.
But I questioned the choices that were made about what to include. Nothing in the movie wasn't straight out of one of the gospels (except the angrogynous demons, I suppose). But wherever their was a choice of Gospel versions, the choice seemed to be the most unflattering one to the Jewish people. For example, only one Gospel (that I can see) included the high priest lying to Pilate about what Jesus said about paying tribute to Caesar. But that was included. Three of the gospels say that Barabbas (son of the father?) was an insurrectionist and committed murder in the course of insurrection. That could well imply he was a folk hero of sorts to the Jewish people who detested Roman rule. Yet the movie portrays him as a common garden variety crazed murderer. One of the gospels, John, tells that it was soldiers (presumably Roman since the high priest would not be allowed to have an army - at least one Bible translation explicitly states Roman) accompanied by guards of the high priest that arrested Jesus. This certainly makes a lot of sense to me, as it's hard to believe that Caiaphas would risk taking what he apparently believed to be an unpopular action in the midst of a festival without running it by the Roman governors by whose grace he held his office. But the movie chooses not to use this version of the Gospel. It also chooses not to mention the passage from John in which it is stated that Caiaphas gave counsel to the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die for, instead of, or on behalf, of the people. Which implies some Roman political purposes that needed to be served. And my understanding was that the passage that appears in only one gospel, where the Jewish people proclaim that Jesus's blood should be on their hands and the hands of their children was only removed from the movie under great protest.
So while nothing in the movie didn't come directly from the Bible and the Gospels, as far as I can see, there could have been other choices made about how to present the information and which Gospel version to choose. I'm not calling the movie anti-semitic, or Mel Gibson anti-semitic. I am just wishing that other choices had been made in the presentation.